Ash Wednesday

IMG_9341

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

 

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lordyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:

Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season in the church. Ashes have long been a symbol of sorrow and repentance in scripture. When Job was afflicted he sat among the ashes scraping at his sores with a broken piece of pottery.

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 

Job 2: 8

When the king gave an order to attack the Jews the people mourned in the ashes.

And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.                                                                                            Esther 4:3

 

Somehow in our culture we have lost the concept of sorrow for sin and repentance of sin. We only have to look at our advertising slogans.

“If it feels good, do it.”

“I’m worth it.”

“Just do it.”

I apologize if these are old to you but we gave up watching television last year for Lent and discovered we could live without it. So I am not up to date on the newest advertising slogans. But you get the picture. We are encouraged to live for self. Guilt is considered a bad thing. Guilt that cripples is not good but guilt that calls us to make a change is good.

The world today doesn’t want to talk about sin. They don’t accept God’s standards. Truth is not an absolute but whatever you deem the truth to be. That is a lie from Satan.

If we believe that God is Who He says He is and the God will do what He says He will do then we must live it out. The Bible says that all have sinned, therefore all are called to repentance. Will you humble yourself on this day of repentance and fall before the LORD and confess your sin and repent? Or will you listen to Satan’s lies and stand on your own?

img_9343-1.jpg

It is not a smudge of ashes on the forehead that makes the difference.

It is the condition of your heart that matters.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:

a broken and a contrite heart, O God,

thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:17

 

 

 

We Survived January In Missouri!

 

The month of January was crazy!

We had warmer than normal weather.

We had colder than normal weather.

We had mud.

We had ice.

dsc04858

Our country road is beautiful in the snow but the weather warmed up and the snow melted and we had a muddy mess. Then the temperature dropped and we had an icy mess!

 

And any outdoor activity is followed by a huddle around the woodstove to warm those cold extremities! Gloves, boots, and insulated coveralls help but when it is minus 20 degrees with a wind chill reading of minus 30 degrees – you don’t last long outdoors.

 

Planning for spring helps me endure this winter weather. I am looking forward to getting back out into the garden.

But for now we have to navigate February.

It isn’t a very promising beginning. We are experiencing an ice storm. Everything is coated with a layer of ice. It is really beautiful but very dangerous.

My husband resorted to crawling on his hands and knees for part of the morning chores. He didn’t want to risk a fall and the animals had to have food and water.

In spite of the weather we are enjoying life on this country road!

dsc04863

 

 

A Snowy Day In Missouri

img_9186

We woke up to a snow covered landscape this morning.

img_9199

It made morning chores interesting.

img_9207

Getting the kennel gate open for the dogs afternoon run was a challenge.

There will be lots of shoveling tomorrow!

 

But the dogs love the snow. It is a joy to watch them play in it.

 

The garden has almost disappeared!

My garden angel is keeping watch.

img_9218

 

The Epiphany of the Lord

scenic view of mountains against sky at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-6

 

We have celebrated Christmas with the manger, the angels, the shepherds and the star. We have read the story in the Gospel of Luke.

 

Today we read the story from the Gospel of Matthew. How wise men came from the east to worship. Upon seeing the child, they fell down and worshiped, and presented gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

What will you give Him?

Will you worship?

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

bible book business christian
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

And the Word was made flesh,

and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

full of grace and truth.

John 1:1, 14

 

These are the images that come to mind when we think of Jesus’ birth in the stable.

I’ve heard them talk of the “sweet smelling hay” in the manger bed.

Have you ever been in a stable? One with animals in it.

A barn full of hay can be “sweet smelling” if it doesn’t make you sneeze.

But put a donkey in there and add a cow, a sheep, a horse and it isn’t going to be sweet.

I have a feeling that Mary and Joseph would have traded that stable for a clean bed.

But that was not God’s plan.

Jesus was born in a stable, in a manger, under the shadow of a cross.

img_6992

This is a stable.

img_6994  This is a manger.

On this last day of the Christmas Season remember that He was born to die.

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

  img_6989

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

IMG_8615

 And it came to pass,

as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel,

that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold,

the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

Exodus 16:10

 

This picture touches something deep within me.

It reminds me of the God I serve.

He is holy;

He is just;

He is merciful;

He is righteous;

He is all mighty;

He is all knowing;

He is ever present;

He is GOD

and

He loves me.

Psalm 103 reminds me of all that He is.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

IMG_8615

 

The Tenth Day of Christmas

img_0600

Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking.

Oswald Chambers

“My Utmost For His Highest”

God speaks to me through a sunrise.

IMG_8615

A sunset

img_7004

The beauty of a flower

IMG_8055

The promise of a rainbow

IMG_2496

The smile of a child

 

The lives of our animals.

We can easily see God in these things. Good things. Wonderful things.

But what about the hard things?

Are we looking for God in the difficult circumstances?

Nothing touches me that doesn’t go through God first.

That means He sent it or He allowed it – FOR HIS PURPOSE.

I believe that with all my heart.

When I find myself dealing with something that is hard I remind myself – God is in this.

I am learning to see God in the struggle to control my blood sugar.

He is teaching me to trust Him.

I have to do my part. Eat healthy foods. Get plenty of exercise.

Avoid the triggers.

But when I do everything right and the numbers still are off I trust Him.

Trust Him.

The Ninth Day of Christmas

sky night stars tend
Photo by Bastian Riccardi on Pexels.com

 

By faith Abraham,

when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,

obeyed;

and he went out,

not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8


IMG_9165

Each morning we greet a new day.

We don’t know what awaits us, but God does.

Just like Abraham, God invites us to trust Him.

God invites us to “go out,” not knowing where it is God will take us.

Will you obey today?

dsc04858

Lord, we thank You for this new day, for all of the possibilities it holds.

Help us to live with our eyes wide open.

Help us to see Your hand at work in every situation we encounter this day.

God is good!

All the time!

 

All the time!

God is good!

 

The Eighth Day of Christmas

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3: 22-23

 

This first day of the year of our Lord twenty-nineteen began with gray skies and cold temperatures.

We are reminded that although we did not see the sun shining, it was shining above those gray clouds.

Just as there are times when we cannot see God at work in our lives, yet we are certain that He is working out His plan for us. Because God is faithful.

IMG_9172

We begin this new year with a clean calendar.

It may be a wall calendar . . .

IMG_9177

It may be a desk calendar . . .

IMG_9179

It may be a pocket calendar . . .

IMG_9176.jpg

It may be a calendar on your smart phone . . .

But each one has a space for each day of this new year.

Three hundred and sixty-five days to serve God.

And when we mess up – you know you will –

We confess, we repent, and we begin anew.

 

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Thomas Chisholm – 1925

Great Is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Though changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for Sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Refrain
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

The Seventh Day of Christmas

IMG_7668

New Year’s Eve.

How quickly the year seems to pass. People used to tell me that time goes by faster the older you get. Well I can attest to that fact after 67 years, 9 months, and 2 days!

Olin and I both expected to have aches and pains as we aged and to not be able to do everything that we used to do. We just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

I found myself having to take a break when mowing the yard this summer. It now takes me two days to do what I used to do in one. The same is true for him.

 

There are many things in this world that could be of concern but as the sign says, “Let your faith be bigger than your fears.” We don’t know what the new year holds for us but we do know the One in charge of our future and we trust in His plan for us.